IDST 2305  ~  Summer I 2005  ~  In Quest of the Heroic


 Quotes on Heroism  

 Lecture on Ancient Greece 

 Lecture on Sophocles

 Patterns of Heroic Quests/Lives  

 Lecture on Biblical Story of Job  

 Lecture on Sumerians


 Lecture on Gospels  

 Assignment for Journal Esays

 Class Calendar  

 Lectures on India  

 Form for Responding to Student Essays

MTWR 10:30-12:40am A&S 342

Textbook (required; available at the bookstore and on reserve in the library):

Mack, Maynard, ed. The Norton Anthology of World Literature: Expanded Edition in One Volume. New York: W. W. Norton& Company, 1997.



Our quest is to consider how the roles, characteristics, and appreciation of heroes and anti-heroes have varied in time and space and what heroes and the heroic quest reveal about humanity. The hero is a fundamental character in the expressive art of many cultures. Upon examining a variety of heroic figures throughout time and space we will consider whether and how notions and manifestations of the heroic vary and what they reveal/suggest about their creators/appreciators. Our journey will involve examination of myths, tales, literature, films, art, and music that involve or reflect upon hero figures. The hero has potential for building or affirming the world or worldview, while the anti-hero offers subversive potential. Heroic quests appeal to us, as all stories do, because they communicate symbolically human values or ideals, suggesting metaphorically how to live, how to be happy, how to die, etc. Such stories may also symbolically question or challenge social structure, norms, and behavior. Thus we will consider who determines heroism (and why), whose behavior and lifestyles are left out or even threatened by notions of the heroic, and how notions of the heroic might change. After considering models, theories, and examples of the heroic throughout history, students will present projects in which carefully thought through, student-generated models of the heroic are applied to appropriate characters from films, books, art, television, or other areas of pop culture.  



All coursework must be completed on time to receive full credit. Late and make-up work will only be accepted with express permission from the teacher (you must explain in advance and document why something will be late). All late assignments, if accepted, will be automatically graded down by one full letter grade per calendar day. With a legitimate excuse (documented medical, extreme family emergency, or official school activity), only one test may be made up without penalty.

Your grade in this class will reflect your overall participation and enthusiasm, as well as your performance on specific tasks outlined below. Consistency and improvement are considered.

Quizzes and classroom activities………………………………………………10% (each will count approximately 2%)

Journal Essays (6 critical responses to specific topics).………50% (10% each; drop lowest)

Responses to Journals………………………………………………………………….10% (5% each)

Final examination (short answer and essay)………………….…….30%

·        Quizzes and classroom activities (and participation). There will reading quizzes periodically based on the assigned readings. There will also be worksheets to be completed for films watched in class. Participation is evaluated according to attendance and your level of awareness and involvement during the semester. Excessive absences or low participation will result in points subtracted from your overall grade.

·        Journal Essays listed on calendar should be at least 200 words long, in standard, typed, academic format, and must respond to readings and ideas from class. You will receive a specific assignment sheet with details on the topic of each short journal essay required. Keep your answers/thoughts focused, concise, analytical, and relevant. The content of your essay is key, but form does matter as well. Although these essays allow for personal expression (like a journal), they should be demonstrably related to and consistent with class concepts, and show strong critical thinking skills, correct language, clear organization, and proper grammar and spelling. Students may drop the lowest grade among the six required journal essays. As a reward for students who excel, you may skip the final essay altogether if you are happy with the first 5 grades. Those students who receive below a 70 on any one of the first 5 essays MUST complete the 6th essay – but may still omit the low score.

·        Responses to Journals. For two of the required journal essays, you must give your essay to another student who will complete a form in response to your essay. You must also complete two such forms for other students. For the two essays you decide to exchange, bring TWO copies of each TYPED essay entry to class – one for me and one for your partner. As a responder, you must return to me the original journal essay AND your completed comments within TWO CLASS PERIODS of the initial exchange to receive credit. For each late day on returning another student’s journal, you will lose a full letter grade after the assignment is graded. Journal essay exchanges will be conducted in class on the days essays are due. Choose students with whom to share your journals wisely. You must exchange one essay of the first two and you may not exchange the final essay. You MUST respond to at least two other students’ journals and give two of your essays to other students. It is your response (the one you write, not the one other students write in response to your work) for which you receive credit. If you lose or are late in submitting another student’s essay (after the exchange), YOU will lose the points! You will also lose points for not exchanging.

·        The exam will require you to demonstrate your understanding of the key concepts, readings, and other details from class. You will analyze and compare examples and concepts. Some questions will be more objective (requiring identification for example), while others will require essay answers. Responses are assessed for quality of supporting detail as well as overall logic and correctness.

NOTE: You will receive evaluation of your academic performance in this course before midterms.


Grades are calculated according to a standard academic scale. There are 100 points possible in the class. Most assignments will be based on a 100-point scale (except for quizzes), and then multiplied by the decimal number of the assignment’s percentage of the total grade: thus a score of 77 points on an assignment that counts 30% of the final grade will count 23.1 points (77 times .3).  All such calculated subtotals will then be added together to determine the final total out of 100 points. Quizzes will add up to one 100 point total that will be multiplied by .1 as a group.

The overall scale is:         90+ A             80+ B           70+ C             60+ D



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